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Re-enter PUCK.

Hast thou the flower there? Welcome, wanderer.
Puck. Ay, there it is.

I pray thee, give it me.
I know a bank whereon' the wild thyme blows,
Where ox-lips and the nodding violet" grows;
Quite over-canopied with lush woodbine,8
With sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania, some time of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell'd skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:

And with the juice of this I'll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies.

Take thou some of it, and seek through this grove:
A sweet Athenian lady is in love

5 whereon] The old copy reads-where. Mr. Malone supposes where to be used as a dissyllable; but offers no example of such a pronunciation. Steevens.

6 Where ox-lips-] The oxlip is the greater cowslip. So, in Drayton's Polyolbion, Song XV:


"To sort these flowers of showe, with other that were sweet, "The cowslip then they couch, and th' oxlip for her meet."


the nodding violet-] i. e. that declines its head, like a drowsy person. Steevens.

8 Quite over-canopied with lush woodbine,] All the old editions

read-luscious woodbine.

On the margin of one of my folios an unknown hand has written lush woodbine, which, I think, is right. This hand I have since discovered to be Theobald's. Johnson.

Lush is clearly preferable in point of sense, and absolutely necessary in point of metre. Oberon is speaking in rhyme; but woodbine, as hitherto accented upon the first syllable, cannot possibly correspond with eglantine. The substitution of lush will re, store the passage to its original harmony, and the author's idea.


I have inserted lush in the text, as it is a word already used by Shakspeare in The Tempest, Act II:

"How lush and lusty the grass looks? how green?" Both lush and luscious (says Mr. Henley) are words of the same origin.

Dr. Farmer, however, would omit the word quite, as a useless expletive, and read:


O'er-canopied with luscious woodbine." Steevens.

With a disdainful youth: anoint his eyes;
But do it, when the next thing he espies
May be the lady: Thou shalt know the man
By the Athenian garments he hath on."
Effect it with some care; that he may prove
More fond on her, than she upon her love:
And look thou meet me ere the first cock crow.
Puck. Fear not, my lord, your servant shall do so.



Another part of the Wood.

Enter TITANIA, with her train.

Tita. Come, now a roundel, and a fairy song1

the man -hath on.] I desire no surer evidence to prove that the broad Scotch pronunciation once prevailed in England, than such a rhyme as the first of these words affords to the second. Steevens.

1 — a roundel, and a fairy song;] Rounds, or roundels, were like the present contra dances, and are thus described by Sir John Davies, in his Orchestra, 1622:

"Then first of all he doth demonstrate plain

"The motions seven that are in nature found,
"Upward and downward, forth, and back again,
"To this side, and to that, and turning round;
"Whereof a thousand brawls he doth compound,
"Which he doth teach unto the multitude,
"And ever with a turn they must conclude.

* * * *

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"Thus when at first love had them marshalled,
"As erst he did the shapeless mass of things,
"He taught them rounds and winding hays to tread,
"And about trees to cast themselves in rings:
"As the two Bears, whom the first mover flings
"With a short turn about heaven's axle-tree,
"In a round dance for ever wheeling be." Reed.

A roundell, rondill, or roundelay, is sometimes used to signify a song beginning or ending with the same sentence; redit in orbem. Puttenham, in his Art of Poetry, 1589, has a chapter On the roundel, or sphere, and produces what he calls A general resemblance of the roundel to God, and the queen. Steevens.

A roundel is, as I suppose, a circular dance. Ben Jonson seems to call the rings, which such dances are supposed to make in the grass, rondels. Vol. V, Tale of a Tub, p. 23:

"I'll have no rondels, I, in the queen's paths." Tyrwhitt.

Then, for the third part of a minute, hence;2
Some, to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds;3

Some, war with rear-mice for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats: and some, keep back
The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders
At our quaint spirits: Sing me now asleep;
Then to your offices, and let me rest.

So, in The Boke of the Governour, by Sir Thomas Elyot, 1537: "In stede of these we have now base daunces, bargenettes, pavyons, turgions, and roundes." Steevens.

2 Then, for the third part of a minute, hence:] Dr. Warburton reads:

- for the third part of the midnight

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But the persons employed are fairies, to whom the third part of a minute might not be a very short time to do such work in. The critick might as well have objected to the epithet tall, which the fairy bestows on the cowslip. But Shakspeare, throughout the play, has preserved the proportion of other things in respect of these tiny beings, compared with whose size, a cowslip might be tall, and to whose powers of execution, a minute might be equivalent to an age. Steevens.


in the musk-rose buds;] What is at present called the Musk Rose, was a flower unknown to English botanists in the time of Shakspeare. About fifty years ago it was brought into this country from Spain. Steevens.


with rear-mice-] A rere-mouse is a bat, a mouse that rears itself from the ground by the aid of wings. So, in Albertus Wallenstein, 1640:

"Half-spirited souls, who strive on rere-mice wings." Again, in Ben Jonson's New Inn:


I keep no shades

"Nor shelters, I, for either owls or rere-mice"

Again, in Golding's translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, B. IV, edit. 1587, p. 58, b:

"And we in English language bats or reremice call the same." Gawin Douglas, in his Prologue to Maphæus's 13th Book of the Eneid, also applies the epithet leathern to the wings of the Bat: Up gois the bak with her pelit leddren flicht." Steevens. quaint spirits:] For this Dr, Warburton reads against all authority: "quaint sports."



But Prospero, in The Tempest, applies quaint to Ariel. Johnson, "Our quaint spirits.". Dr. Johnson is right in the word, and Dr. Warburton in the interpretation. A spirit was sometimes used for a sport. In Decker's play, If it be not good, the Devil is in it, the king of Naples says to the devil Rufman, disguised in the character of Shalcan: "Now Shalcan, some new spirit? Ruff. A thousand wenches stark-naked to play at leap-frog, Omnes. O rare sight!" Farmer.


1 Fai. You spotted snakes, with double tongue,
Thorny hedge-hogs, be not seen;
Newts, and blind-worms, do no wrong;7
Come not near our fairy queen:


Philomel, with melody,

Sing in our sweet lullaby;

Lulla, lulla, lullaby; lulla, lulla, lullaby:
Never harm, nor spell, nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;

So, good night, with lullaby.


2 Fai. Weaving spiders, come not here;

Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence:
Beetles black, approach not near;
`Worm, nor snail, do no offence.


Philomel, with melody, &c.

1 Fai. Hence, away; now all is well:


One, aloof, stand sentinel.

[Exeunt Fairies. TITA. sleeps.


Obe. What thou seest, when thou dost wake,

[Squeezes the flower on TITA.'s eye-lids.

with double tongue,] The same epithet occurs in a fu ture scene of this play:

with doubler tongue

"Than thine, thou serpent," &c.

Again, in The Tempest:

66 adders, who, with cloven tongues,

"Do hiss me into madness."

By both these terms, I suppose, our author means-forked; as the tongues of snakes are sometimes represented in ancient tapestry and paintings, and, it may be added, are so in nature. Steevens.

7 Newts, and blind-worms,] The newt is the eft, the blind-worm is the Cæcilia or slow-worm. They are both ingredients in the cauldron of Macbeth. See Macbeth, Act IV, sc. i. Steevens.

8 Hence, away; &c.] This, according to all the editions, is made part of the song; but, I think, without sufficient reason, as it appears to be spoken after the song is over. In the quarto, 1600, it is given to the second Fairy; but the other division is better. Steevens.

C c

Do it for thy true love take;

Love, and languish for his sake:
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear,
Pard, or boar with bristled hair,
In thy eye that shall appear
When thou wak'st, it is thy dear;

Wake, when some vile thing is near.



Lys. Fair love, you faint with wandering in the wood;
And to speak troth, I have forgot our way:

We'll rest us, Hermia, if you think it good,
And tarry for the comfort of the day.

Her. Be it so, Lysander: find you out a bed;
For I upon this bank will rest my head.

Lys. One turf shall serve as pillow for us both: One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth. Her. Nay, good Lysander: for my sake, my dear, Lie further off yet, do not lie so near.

Lys. O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence;1
Love takes the meaning, in love's conference.2

I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit;
So that but one heart we can make of it:

• Be it ounce,] The ounce is a small tiger, or tiger-cat.


1 0, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence;] Lysander, in the language of love, professes, that as they have one heart, they shall have one bed: this Hermia thinks rather too much, and intreats him to lie further off. Lysander answers:

66 "O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence;" Understand the meaning of my innocence, or my innocent meaning. Let no suspicion of ill enter thy mind. Johnson.

2 Love takes the meaning, in love's conference.] In the conversation of those who are assured of each other's kindness, not suspicion, but love, takes the meaning. No malevolent interpretation is to be made; but all is to be received in the sense which love can find, and which love can dictate. Johnson.

The latter line is certainly intelligible as Dr. Johnson has explained it; but, I think, it requires a slight alteration to make it connect well with the former. I would read:

Love take the meaning in love's conference. That is, Let love take the meaning. Tyrwhitt.

There is no occasion for alteration. The idea is exactly similar to that of St. Paul: "Love thinketh no evil." Henley.

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